MIAGD: Schools vs Parenting

MIAGD: Make it a great day

This meme seems, to me, to be a great idea. But, then, it doesn’t seem like a great idea.

Once upon a time children learned about coping skills from their parents. As young kids, even as teenagers, we often did not hear about depression, schizophrenia, eating disorders, or other mental and emotional barriers. We didn’t have terms like ADHD, PTSD, autism, etc.

What has changed?

I honestly believe schools cannot and should not be everything.

Since my childhood, more social training expectations have been heaped upon the schools, and when anything negative occurs, the schools and teachers are the first to be blasted. For many parents, it’s so much easier for the schools, or others, to teach their children some of the most basic fundamentals of life, and social skills.

When I began parenting, the parent being in charge had all changed. Children were increasingly running things (but not in my home). I was dealing with the new terminology because my sons, age 12, coming straight out of foster care, had been dealing with many of these terms already due to their birth families exhibiting so many disorders, or from their own experiences through counseling.

What was startling was the fact that many of their friends also knew most of these terms from experience themselves, or from family.

Through a number of students in the classroom or friends of my sons, I discovered many young folks were not trained in coping skills, or some of the most basic social skills at home. It occurred to me that I’d been doling out a good deal of counseling on certain issues.

When I was twelve years old, I remember my mother always saying, “if you have questions about something and don’t feel comfortable talking to me, I completely understand. But I urge you to talk to a responsible adult and not try to learn things from friends your age who know absolutely nothing about the topic, only what they think they know.”

I used the same encouragement with my own sons. They would often come to me with such incredible information acquired from friends and me trying to undo their immature rationale was incredibly difficult because their friends always seemed to know more. Again, I was dealing with sons who’d not had solid starts in life.

My concern became, “who are he responsible adults in their lives to be accountable for good information?”

By the end of the first year of being an adoptive parent I had formed the God Parent Team.

Rather than assigning one family as godparents for each son, I developed a godparent team: adults who were involved in education, music, athletics, church, and good community servants. In the unlikely event that something would happen to me, these individuals would come together to determine where my sons would go.

There was the standard core of six godparents for all the sons, but each son was also assigned 3 to 5 additional godparents who seemed to have much in common with the son.

This served my purpose of making certain there were responsible, loving adults in the lives of my sons. These were individuals, or parents themselves, who shared similar family values, but were also capable being available for sons as needed. And many of these folks served admirably throughout the years, and continue to do so.

For many of my students, their parents have encouraged me to be that adult who listens to their child, or they thank me for allowing their child to confide. I’m glad to be that person of service as many adults have aided me in being that adult for my sons.

I’ve a number of great stories of how fellow adults have assisted with my village, The Haasienda, but one son loves laughing about an episode where he had grabbed another son by the throat and was drawing back the other fist when a studio parent, Debbie Allen, charged up to their bedroom from the living room and bellowed, “Joshua! Let go of Matthew!” Now, Debbie is a tiny gal, but the errant son still claims, “Mrs. Allen put the fear of god in me.”

We need to be parents to our children. We cannot rely on the surrounding world to take on our responsibilities. We especially cannot expect our schools to be weighed with even greater responsibilities that go beyond so many expectations.

The responsibility is ours.

Ask for assistance when needed and do build your own village; however, you are the chief of your village, the captain/coach of your team.

Make it a great day, Folks.

I am convinced

About Wright Flyer Guy

Darin is a single adoptive father, a teacher, playwright, and musical theatre director from Kettering, Ohio.
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